PalmSource, PalmGear Strike Alliance

PalmSource , the provider of the operating system for handheld devices and smart phones that is the midst of being spun off as a separate company, said it formed a strategic alliance with PalmGear, a leading resource for freeware, shareware and commercial software for the Palm OS platform.

As part of the new arrangement, PalmSource is selling off its Palm Digital Media or eBook subsidiary to PalmGear.

The aim is to create a new online store and improved distribution channel for Palm OS software applications, as well as providing news, product details and information useful to both developers and customers.

One pillar of the new arrangement will be PalmGear’s ability to leverage some of Palm Digital Media’s previous licensing arrangements for eBook content.

The partners in the deal said they will “offer Palm Powered consumers increased access to more than 19,000 applications and over 10,000 eBook titles. The acquisition of Palm Digital Media by PalmGear strengthens its position as the industry’s leading provider of third-party content for Palm Powered mobile devices, bringing the company’s total software application and eBook offerings to nearly 30,000.”

PalmGear anticipates that Palm Digital Media’s existing relationships with more than 75 publishers, including industry leaders HarperCollins , Penguin Group (USA), Bertelsmann’s Random House, St. Martin’s Press, Simon & Schuster and Time Warner Book Group will enable PalmGear to further expand its current product offerings, the companies said in a press release.

The agreement provides that PalmGear will provide the back-end infrastructure, Palm OS software catalog, and customer and technical support to users purchasing software applications via the PalmSource Web site.

PalmSource says Palm OS developers will be able to utilize the new PalmGear site giving them an expanded marketplace for their applications and software for the customers of the more than 29 million Palm-powered mobile devices around the world.

Separately, Palm’s hardware business said it has struck a deal with Novarra, Inc., to use next generations of Novarra’s Palm Web Pro browser in specific future Palm handhelds. Currently, Web Pro 1.0, by Novarra, ships on the Palm Tungsten T, Tungsten T2 and Tungsten W handhelds.

Palm is expected to announce details of a new Tungsten product in October, according to information leaked on the PalmInfoCenter Web site.

The report said the Tungsten T3 will retail for $400, and went onto say the Tungsten Es specs are similar to the Tungsten T2, but will have a different case. The Tungsten E will contain a 144 Mhz ARM processor, Palm OS 5.2, 32 MB RAM, a HighRes color screen and tablet, and is expected to cost around $200, according to PalmInfoCenter.

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